Safin knee injury

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by tkoziol, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    A few threads regarding Safin as the greatest tennis player of all time intrigued me so I did some research. It does appear that Safin was a completely different player after his knee injury in 2005.

    Here is Safin loading on his knees properly and dictating with his forehand and backhand on a hard court (2002 AO): http://youtu.be/eVFfTxUCWsQ?t=24s

    Here is Safin in 2007 on a hard court. I think at 1:54 you can clearly see that he isn't loading properly, his footwork looks awkward, his shots lack depth and power (Montreal 2007): http://youtu.be/r2WD10umIuo?t=1m55s

    I found this Montreal performance to be especially startling because normally a shallow top spin ball that kicks up is Safin's preference. He should be punishing Nadal for sending shots that sit up midcourt (Robin Soderling ring a bell?). Example of Safin crushing high kicking topspin shots:

    http://youtu.be/eVFfTxUCWsQ?t=43s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mdor7Tgn8g&feature=youtu.be&t=1h54m16s

    In addition to the power issues related to the knee, it seems that movement became an issue. I rarely saw Safin move like this after 2005: http://youtu.be/eVFfTxUCWsQ?t=5m7s

    Last but not least (quality is terrible) Agassi vs Safin FO 1998. I included this to show how Safin can play on clay when focused. Imagine if he was in this form in 2005 (would help if he didn't get injured). Clearly one of the best clay court performances from Safin, if not the best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNZZ5JqIass

    I know that speculation can be dangerous... However, I do believe that in his prime he should be in the discussion for the best tennis player of all time. The problem is that his prime seems to be in a very short lived period of time. Seems like after the US Open 2004 - February 2005 (estimation of when his injury began to develop). After losing in the first round at the US Open, he did very well in the important monthly tournaments. In September he won the China Open. In October the French BNP masters (shanghai did not exist yet). November he gave Federer a battle in the semis at the tour finals (keep in mind this tournament brings out the best in Fed except for Wimbledon maybe...). Then he starts out 2005 with an AO win. Sounds like a great run! If only he didn't have the injury in the clay court season.

    Does anyone have any more information about Safin during this "peak time period?" I'd like to take a look at some more tape before I make any judgements (Safin is currently 4th or 5th all time on my list). Any one have any information about his knee injury? When it started or what it was specifically?

    Welcome Safin lovers and haters. What do we all think about this? I know there are several threads about this, I'm hoping that this one can have more facts, tape, and stats than the others. Hopefully, this thread can be the last thread. Speculation welcome, but please have some facts to back up your claims.
     
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  2. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    WE need facts to back up our claims ??..:)

    ..and theres you trying to get away with claiming safin is your 4th or 5th best player of all time ??..:):-?

    you dont watch tennis when you are awake then (joking) :shock:

    ummm..safin was capable of magic..sadly we didnt see it anywhere near often enough..he really destroyed sampras at that u s open 2000 final, that was amazing when he wasted pistol pete in his own house.

    top effort with the vids though.
     
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  3. obsessedtennisfandisorder

    obsessedtennisfandisorder Professional

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    There was a vid on youtube on him playing pete in toronto
    a few weeks before the famous US meeting...taken off i think

    found this though...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL8HMY0VcXY

    pete doesn't get enuff credit though...he could also turn it on and did in this match and also thrashed him in 2001 USOpen...
    Safin could be all over the p-lace...even in his prime.
    although yes he was inhibited post 2005.
     
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  4. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Great vids - many thanks... easy to see your point about his talents...

    The AO 2002 match is one of those matches that never should be shown on TC in prime time - never. Too many viewers would realize what is missing in today's game. (Another match that should never be shown would be Chang-Edberg USO semis - the richness of contrasting styles.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
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  5. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    Good point. I was just unwilling to get into the details because then my post would be twice as long. Additionally, I wanted to focus more on Safin and lesson on the GOAT. The more and more I see head to head battles with Safin vs (insert legendary player here), the more I want to rank him higher on my list.
     
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  6. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    Nice find! Very good point about Sampras, when talking about heart and desire to win, he definitely would be the GOAT. Talent and skill level though...its tough to say. I wish I could find more examples of "focused Safin".
     
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